Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.

The Boar

The boar is Richard’s heraldic symbol, and is used several times throughout the play to represent him, most notably in Stanley’s dream about Hastings’s death. The idea of the boar is also played on in describing Richard’s deformity, and Richard is cursed by the duchess as an “abortive, rooting hog” (I.iii.225). The boar was one of the most dangerous animals that people hunted in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and Shakespeare’s audience would have associated it with untamed aggression and uncontrollable violence.